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News on the Lawyers and Legal Professionals of Texas
Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

League City lawyer hired as State Bar of Texas executive director

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 12:15

Apffel

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors voted on Friday to hire E.A. “Trey” Apffel III of League City as the next State Bar executive director. Apffel was elected with 42 votes. Another applicant received one vote. One voting member abstained.

“Our search committee overwhelmingly believed Trey was the right choice for the position at the right time, and our board overwhelmingly agreed,” State Bar President Tom Vick said. “He has extensive knowledge of the workings of the bar and will work productively with our members and staff to advance our mission of serving Texas attorneys and the people of our state.”

A former State Bar of Texas president, Apffel is the owner and principal of the Apffel Law Firm, where he focuses on personal injury litigation, toxic torts, and medical malpractice. His practice also includes family law and divorce. He has practiced in Galveston County for more than 30 years. Apffel will begin his new position on December 1.

Read the full news release here.

Update on job scam targeting law office applicants

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:00

More victims are coming forward in a scam involving a fraudulent job posting listed on Indeed.com and other job listing sites. At least one person has suffered financial loss from the scam after providing the poster with gift card information.

The job posting, listed on Indeed.com and other job sites, offered an office assistant position with Bertha Gutierrez, P.C.

Applicants to the post received a response email claiming to be from Gutierrez that said, “Thank you very much for your application. We really appreciate you taking the time to consider us as a potential employer. However, the position you applied for has been filled, but you have been offered another position at our client’s company as a Personal Assistant due to your exceptional resume.”

The email asked for personal details such as address, phone number, and email address. Following emails were sent from a person claiming to be “Dominique Walter” from Walter Group INC, who could be reached at a gmail address.

Follow-up emails with “Walter” included other employment questions and instructions to cash or deposit a check to the applicant’s bank account from an Illinois business. “Walter” asked applicants to notify her when the check had been deposited and to make purchases for her using the money.

Applicants were instructed to purchase gift cards and to send pictures of the serial numbers to an Illinois phone number. Applicants used their own money for these expenses while waiting for the check to clear only to be notified by the bank that it had bounced.

When applicants attempted to make contact with “Walter” about the bounced check there was no response.

Gutierrez originally said 20 people had contacted her about the position through phone calls and emails, but that number has increased.

In email responses to the applicants, Gutierrez stated that no such position had been posted to Indeed.com by her office. At least one applicant was told the position was in Dallas. Gutierrez said she only has one location in San Antonio.

Gutierrez also said she did not have any business clients who she would be referring an applicant for hiring.

Gutierrez contacted Indeed.com about removing the job posting. In response, Indeed.com said the posting was no longer listed and had been possibly removed by the poster.

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 22, 2017

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 08:54

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

Houston housing officials draw ire for evicting elderly residents — Public housing leaders say a high-rise along Buffalo Bayou is unsafe because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey. But folks who live in 2100 Memorial say officials have mishandled the situation. — The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of Harvey prison evacuees start transfer to cooler Texas facilities — A federal judge’s order that some prison inmates relocated amid Hurricane Harvey’s flooding be moved into air-conditioned units is prompting a big prisoner shakeup. — The Texas Tribune

Army Corps to examine Harris County flood control regulations — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to review Harris County’s flood control regulations to gauge whether they sufficiently neutralize the flood risk posed by the region’s booming development, a question that has drawn increasing scrutiny after a series of storms in recent years, capped by Hurricane Harvey, have devastated the region. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Former state judge named insurance commissioner after Harvey — Gov. Greg Abbott has named a former state appeals court judge as Texas’ new insurance commissioner — a powerful post that will have a higher-than-usual profile following Harvey’s destruction. — The Associated Press

Voices from the Storm — The story of Hurricane Harvey, as told by 28 Texans who helped their state through its darkest hour. — Texas Monthly

Digging out with fewer hands — Recovery is no sure thing in the small Texas towns wrecked by Hurricane Harvey — Austin American-Statesman

Hensarling to flood victims: ‘At some point, God’s telling you to move’ — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling said Thursday that for victims of repeat flooding, “at some point, God’s telling you to move.” — The Dallas Morning News

Miller, Perdue, Conaway uninjured after car accident on Harvey damage tour — Two staffers for U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and one from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were sent to a hospital near El Campo on Thursday after a major car wreck that interrupted a government tour of hurricane damage to agricultural production. — The Texas Tribune

City of Liberty claims new unofficial Harvey rainfall record: 55 inches — Bruce Johnson knew it all along. While the Houston area shuddered at a record-setting 51 inches of rain recorded during Hurricane Harvey, Johnson knew his rural community was hit with even more. — Houston Chronicle

Robinson Elementary outside of Waco helps Houston ISD school with same name recover from Hurricane Harvey — Two Texas elementary schools with the same name might be about 200 miles apart, but students and staff at Robinson Elementary School in Houston and Robinson Elementary School in Robinson are finding out they have more in common than just a school name. — Waco Tribune-Herald

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas panel discusses statewide case management system

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:15

Members from the media, courts, and government talked about privacy and transparency during a panel discussion about a statewide case management system at the Freedom of Information of Texas annual conference on September 14 in downtown Austin.

Currently about 200 judges use re:SearchTX, a secure web portal that includes all electronic filings as of January 1, 2016. The portal, which is managed by the Texas Office of Court Administration and hosted by Tyler Technologies, provides judges with a tool that allows them to access cases from all Texas counties that e-file. Access to the portal has been an ongoing project—with counties being phased in—and the OCA plans to eventually make re:SearchTX available to the public. Similar to PACER, a federal portal accessed by subscribers who pay fees, the public portal would be funded by fees attorneys pay to use the system.

For the media, having open records easily accessible is crucial to pursuing stories. Panelist Madison Venza, bureau chief of Courthouse News Service—and a former Vanity Fair reporter—described the strains in public access to court documents. In her experience, because Texas’ 254 counties have different methods of making records accessible, getting information on cases can hit lulls.

“Complaints lose their value the longer they sit around,” she said, adding that a centralized case management system would help reporters do the research to ask difficult questions of elected representatives.

For some in government, there is concern over tabloid-style journalism. Panelist Rep. Travis Clardy said a rush to transparency could degrade the value of the court system and pointed to a need to stymie “judicial voyeurism,” where tabloid reporters with malicious intent dig up information on politicians.

“I’ve got no desire to assist up-and-coming ‘TMZs’ of the media world,” he said.

During the 85th Legislature, Clardy introduced HB 1258, a bill to require a written agreement between the public and a court clerk, along with approval from the county’s commissioners court, for public access to an electronic court record to be granted. The bill died in the Senate.

For county court clerks, already tasked with balancing transparency and protecting sensitive data, there is concern over liability, as well as the costs associated with working in a statewide records system. Panelist Sharena Gilliland, Parker County’s district clerk, said that clerks can be held liable if sensitive data gets into the public sphere. Some files, she said, have data that is mostly deemed sensitive by the Texas Supreme Court. This can include victim and defendant identifiers and private medical information.

For the court system, transparency is important. Panelist Blake Hawthorne, clerk of the Texas Supreme Court, noted early in the discussion that sensitive data would not be accessible. The Rules of Civil Procedure require attorneys to redact such information when filing cases, he said.

While no one in the panel downplayed the importance of public access to the state’s court records, the discussion was a microcosm of diverse views.

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 21, 2017

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 08:53

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

Along the Texas coast, food banks brace for post-Harvey need — Food banks, pantries and other food access advocates are bracing for increased need in communities that struggled with food insecurity even before Hurricane Harvey — and planning how to meet needs in the months of recovery still ahead. — The Texas Tribune

Mayor, council members clash over questions about debris removal — City Council devolved into a series of shouting matches Wednesday over an agenda item to allocate more money to remove the thousands of piles of Hurricane Harvey debris across Houston, ultimately delaying the proposal over Mayor Sylvester Turner’s strenuous objections. — Houston Chronicle

What lurks in the sludge that Harvey left behind? — All over the Houston area, as Harvey’s floodwaters receded, they left behind sludge – a mix of grit and debris picked up from streets and sewers and eroded bayou banks. Though that sediment sometimes appears to be as clean as sand — the large deposits in Buffalo Bayou Park are being described as “beaches” or “dunes” — it’s definitely dirty, say experts. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Harvey created Texas’ biggest unemployment spike in decades

Last week, we learned that the Texas Workforce Commission had received a huge number of claims for Hurricane Harvey-related unemployment insurance, causing delays in processing that have created some hardship for people left short on cash. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Trump administration resumes immigrant arrests in Houston after Harvey — President Donald Trump’s administration announced Wednesday that it had resumed the apprehension of immigrants here illegally following a pause in enforcement during Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery efforts. — Houston Chronicle

Homeowners join lawsuit against Crosby chemical plant that burned after Hurricane Harvey — Eleven additional plaintiffs and a new defendant have been added to a lawsuit against the company whose manufacturing plant experienced a series of chemical fires as a result of floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. — The Texas Tribune

Abbott, Paxton send Trump letter requesting FEMA funding for churches — The letter comes after Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, along with Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, introduced an act to make houses of worship eligible for FEMA Public Assistance program grants. — The Texas Tribune

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 20, 2017

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:26

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

Houston FEMA flood map missed 75 percent of flood damages, says new study — FEMA’s 100-year flood plain map doesn’t have the best reputation in Bayou City – just ask any Houstonian whose home was outside the flood risk zone yet still filled with water during one if the city’s many and recent flooding events. Still, a new study by Rice University and Texas A&M-Galveston suggests FEMA’s hazard mapping may be even less accurate than most people think. — Houston Chronicle

Texas lets storm victims apply for food stamps far from home, adds 7 counties to program — State social services officials are dropping their requirement that Hurricane Harvey victims return to their home counties to apply for federally provided disaster food relief. — The Dallas Morning News

Raw sewage spilled in Houston area after wastewater plants damaged by Harvey — Nearly 31.6 million gallons of raw sewage spilled across southeast Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, pouring into neighboring communities and waterways as dozens of wastewater treatment plants were hit by high winds and flooding, according to state records. — Houston Chronicle

Anxiety swirls after 200 residents ordered to leave flood-damaged high-apartment complex — On Monday, the nearly 200 residents of the public housing complex at 2100 Memorial Drive were ordered to vacate the property by Saturday, a move city officials said was necessary to evaluate the safety of the building in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. — Houston Chronicle

Some question decision to keep Texas nuclear plant open during Harvey — Nuclear safety watchdogs, who had called for the reactors to be shut down before Harvey arrived, maintained afterward that the plant, which is partly owned by Austin Energy, should have prioritized safety over production.  — Austin American-Statesman

Downtown Dallas megashelter for Harvey evacuees to close Wednesday — The downtown Dallas megashelter still housing about 200 Hurricane Harvey evacuees will close Wednesday, city officials say. — The Dallas Morning News

Jones Walker completes Houston office move after delay caused by Hurricane Harvey — Jones Walker has completed its move and officially opened its new downtown Houston space on Sept. 18, the same day partner Lara Pringle assumed the responsibilities of office head for the firm’s Texas offices. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 19, 2017

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 08:40

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

In car-centric Houston, low-income residents struggle after Harvey ruined their vehicles — In addition to replacing clothes and finding new places to live, many in southeast Texas must repair vehicles or buy new cars. But not being able to get to work for more than three weeks makes that a challenge. — The Texas Tribune

Last 900 Harvey evacuees leave convention center in Houston — Officials say the last 900 Hurricane Harvey evacuees at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston have been relocated as the site returns to regular business. — The Associated Press

Hey, Texplainer: How is FEMA distributing money to areas hit by Harvey? — Following Harvey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested money from the federal government, which has sent nearly $1 billion since the federal disaster declaration issued by President Donald Trump on Aug. 25. — The Texas Tribune

Fierce storms haven’t slowed growth along US coastlines — Rising sea levels and fierce storms have failed to stop relentless population growth along U.S. coasts in recent years, a new Associated Press analysis shows. The latest punishing hurricanes scored bull’s-eyes on two of the country’s fastest growing regions: coastal Texas around Houston and resort areas of southwest Florida. — The Associated Press

As some fundraisers focus on Houston, Coastal Bend still gathering donations after Harvey — Kelly Miller Trevino watched “Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief” and felt saddened to not hear mentions of Rockport or other towns in the Coastal Bend affected by Hurricane Harvey. — Corpus Christi Caller-Times

AP Exclusive: Evidence of spills at toxic site during floods — The U.S. government received reports of three spills at one of Houston’s dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites in the days after the drenching rains from Hurricane Harvey finally stopped. Aerial photos reviewed by The Associated Press show dark-colored water surrounding the site as the floods receded, flowing through Vince Bayou and into the city’s ship channel. — The Associated Press

Houston’s convention business survives first post-Harvey test — A group of exploration geophysicists will begin moving exhibits into the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday, just days after the last Hurricane Harvey evacuee left the building. Meanwhile, a gathering of meeting planners will wrap up a successful event at the Marriott Marquis across the street, a feat one official called “incredible.” (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Shale producers pumping more oil despite Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Eagle Ford — A group of exploration geophysicists will begin moving exhibits into the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday, just days after the last Hurricane Harvey evacuee left the building. Meanwhile, a gathering of meeting planners will wrap up a successful event at the Marriott Marquis across the street, a feat one official called “incredible.” — Houston Chronicle

Free legal clinic for veterans in Katy — A free legal advice clinic is available for veterans in Katy on Saturday, September 23, at the Katy VA Outpatient Clinic. — Texas Bar Blog

Free legal clinic for veterans in Katy

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:30

A free legal advice is available for veterans in Katy on Saturday, September 23, at the Katy VA Outpatient Clinic.

Any veteran or spouse of a deceased veteran can receive counsel from a volunteer attorney in any area of law, including family law, wills and probate, consumer law, and real estate and tax law, as well as disability and veterans benefits. Attorneys will also answer legal-issue questions regarding Hurricane Harvey.

Veterans who qualify for legal aid and need ongoing representation may be assigned a pro bono attorney through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers.

The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to noon and is located 750 Westgreen Blvd., Katy 77450. No appointment is necessary.

The clinic is sponsored by the Houston Bar Foundation. For more information, go to hba.org.

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 18, 2017

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 08:51

 

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give through the Texas Bar Foundation by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

FEMA auctioned disaster trailers before Harvey made landfall — The federal government auctioned off disaster-response trailers at fire-sale prices just before Harvey devastated southeast Texas, reducing an already diminished supply of mobile homes ahead of what could become the nation’s largest-ever housing mission. — Houston Chronicle

Coastal Bend communities begin long rebuild after Harvey — Hurricane Harvey decimated communities along the Coastal Bend and left large swaths of the Lone Star State underwater when it roared ashore about three weeks ago. — Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Houston lawyer Mostyn talks Harvey, Irma and how new laws could affect storm-related lawsuits — Mostyn, a top Democratic donor who has made a fortune suing insurance companies on behalf of homeowners after hurricanes, assesses the legal landscape after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. — The Texas Tribune

Harvey raises issues of price gouging, unwelcome boats in the pool — The information in this column is intended to provide a general understanding of the law, not as legal advice. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Professional clothing drive seeks to outfit women affected by Hurricane Harvey — As women return to work after Hurricane Harvey, some who were affected find themselves without professional attire. The Association of Women Attorneys is sponsoring a professional clothing drive accepting donations of professional women’s attire—clothing, shoes, and handbags. — Texas Bar Blog

His home flooded, the Port Arthur mayor puts his city first — On a winding street of older brick homes in the center of town, only one house is without a mountain of debris on the front yard. The house, a two-story at the end of the cul-de-sac, had not been spared by the recent storm, which submerged three-quarters of this coastal industrial city. The homeowner, Derrick Ford Freeman, has just not had time to worry about his own affairs. He is the mayor of Port Arthur. — The New York Times

Union: Thousands of firefighters didn’t work during Harvey — Thousands of Houston firefighters were told to stay home at the height of Harvey’s flooding even as calls for help overwhelmed 911 dispatchers, the president of the city’s firefighters union said Friday. — Houston Chronicle

A first look at the new Red Cross shelter for Harvey evacuees — The city is moving people out of the George R. Brown Convention Center and into other shelters. — KHOU – Houston

As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 600 more Texas prisoners getting AC — As Hurricane Harvey approached Texas, state prison officials moved thousands of inmates to higher ground. But now that the storm has passed, about 600 of the evacuees gained protection from hot conditions in their cells thanks to an ongoing federal lawsuit. — The Texas Tribune

Stranger helps victims navigate FEMA maze — Already exhausted from trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, some of those affected by Hurricane Harvey are connecting with strangers to take on the Federal Emergency Management Agency. — Victoria Advocate

Houston Bar volunteers respond to need for legal help after Harvey — Nearly 900 members of the Houston Bar Association have volunteered or registered to volunteer in the future to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Attorneys are answering calls for a daily LegalLine program; staffing legal assistance booths at shelters, Disaster Recovery Centers, and legal clinics; and volunteering to represent low-income residents with legal problems related to the storm through the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers. — Texas Bar Blog

Professional clothing drive seeks to outfit women affected by Hurricane Harvey

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 12:00

As women return to work after Hurricane Harvey, some who were affected find themselves without professional attire.

The Association of Women Attorneys is sponsoring a professional clothing drive accepting donations of professional women’s attire—clothing, shoes, and handbags.

The drive, which runs through October 13, is accepting donations at four different locations:

  • Primary site and outfitting location: Fullenweider Wilhite (Galleria area), 4265 San Felipe St., Ste. 1400, Houston 77027. Contact: Lauren Waddell at (713) 624-4117 or info@helpprofessionalwomen.com;
  • Shell Oil Company (Energy Corridor), Room F0640C, 150 N. Dairy Ashford, Houston 77079. Contact: Maribel Garcia at (832) 337-2817 or maribel.garcia@shell.com;
  • Gardere (Downtown), 1000 Louisiana St., Ste. 2000, Houston 77002. Contact: Rhonda Weiner at rweiner@gardere.com; and
  • Barita & Keough Law Firm (Clear Lake), 1120 Nasa Pkwy., Ste. 316, Houston 77058. Contact: Trisha Barita at (713) 239-5617 or trisha@baritakeoughlawfirm.com.

Donations are being accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attorney Lauren Wadell of Fullenweider Wilhite said accommodations are being made for after-hours donations at the Fullenweider Wilhite location. For after-hours needs, make a request by email at info@helpprofessionalwomen.com.

Women in need of professional attire can make a request by filling out a form on the website or by making an appointment on the schedule .

The drive has already outfitted five women and has three appointments scheduled for Saturday, Waddell said.

Monetary donations aren’t available at this time, but plans are in place to accept tax-deductible donations through the Association of Women Attorneys Foundation. Waddell said they are still awaiting approval on whether donations can be accepted this way.

Any items donated to the clothing drive after October 13 will be given to the Houston Bar Association’s clothing drive beginning in mid-October.

The Houston Association of Women Attorneys, Fullenweider Wilhite, Twin Oaks, Woodbranch Management, Inc., Carlisle, 3GiG, and Gardere are sponsors of the drive.

Houston Bar volunteers respond to need for legal help after Harvey

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 11:51

Editor’s note: The Houston Bar Association issued the following news release Friday. 

Nearly 900 members of the Houston Bar Association have volunteered or registered to volunteer in the future to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Attorneys are answering calls for a daily LegalLine program; staffing legal assistance booths at shelters, Disaster Recovery Centers, and legal clinics; and volunteering to represent low-income residents with legal problems related to the storm through the HBA’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers.

Volunteer attorneys take calls Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m., to answer legal questions, give brief legal advice, and provide resources for those who have questions on insurance claims, landlord/tenant issues, property, FEMA, lost documents, and many other problems resulting from the storm. The public can call 713-759-1133 or toll free at 1-866-959-1133 to speak to an attorney.

Attorneys staffed legal assistance booths at NRG Stadium, the Toyota Center, Lakewood Church and the George R. Brown Convention Center. They are volunteering at Disaster Recovery Centers and legal assistance clinics that are being set up to assist those who need legal help.

Attorneys have provided items and cleanup help needed by other nonprofit organizations as they serve their clients affected by the storm, including the HAY Center, Habitat for Humanity, and The Center, three organizations the HBA supports through fundraising and projects.

The Houston Bar Association is helping its members affected by the storm as well, taking donations for members in need and connecting lawyers who may need temporary office space or housing with those who have space to offer.

“The outpouring of concern and offers of help don’t surprise me, because our members have always rolled up their sleeves and helped after natural disasters,” said Alistair Dawson, president of the Houston Bar Association, “but we are grateful that so many are offering to help in this time of extreme need.”

 

Updates on Hurricane Harvey and executive director search

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:06

Editor’s note: State Bar of Texas President Tom Vick sent the following message to members on Friday.

Dear Fellow Attorneys,

I’m writing to update you on the State Bar’s Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and our search for a new executive director.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

I know that Hurricane Harvey and its related flooding have damaged many of your homes and law offices. Please know that my thoughts are with you during this difficult time, and the State Bar of Texas is here to serve you in any way possible.

The State Bar is providing the following resources to lawyers and members of the public affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Disaster Hotline—The State Bar’s toll-free disaster hotline (800) 504-7030—answered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese—connects low-income disaster survivors to legal assistance through local legal aid or pro bono programs. Based on where the caller lives, the hotline routes the caller to a legal aid agency in his or her area where attorneys can help with a variety of legal concerns from lost documents to insurance questions, renters’ concerns, applying for federal disaster assistance, and other matters.

Disaster Resources—The State Bar has collected a number of valuable explanatory documents, assistance links, and how-to videos for the public at texasbar.com/disasters. A page of disaster relief resources designed specifically for attorneys is available at texasbar.com/attorneyresources featuring free CLE opportunities, volunteer guides, and other materials.

Attorneys Affected—Hurricane Harvey and its related flooding affected a number of attorneys and law firms. To that effort the State Bar created an assessment survey at texasbar.com/attorneyrelief where attorneys with needs can report how their colleagues can assist them with things like temporary office space or supplies. State Bar staff is working to match those in need with other lawyers who are eager to help. If you need help with stress, anxiety, or other emotional effects of the disaster, call the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program at 1-800-343-8527 or go to tlaphelps.org for more information.

Volunteer Attorneys—The State Bar also is coordinating the attorney volunteer effort. Nearly 2,400 attorneys, paralegals, and law students have volunteered to assist the public with this disaster. The State
Bar’s Legal Access Division has collected the volunteers’ information through an online form at
texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer and is connecting those volunteers with needs reported by the various legal aid agencies.

MCLE Extension—State Bar of Texas members affected by Hurricane Harvey may request an extension of time for compliance with MCLE requirements. MCLE Rules and Regulations allow extensions of up to 90 days in cases of “good cause,” such as extraordinary hardship or extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the member. If you need an extension, you can either:

• Email your request to mcle@texasbar.com;
• Fax it to (512) 427-4423; or
• Mail it to MCLE Dept. P.O. Box 13007, Austin, Texas, 78711-3007.

Your request should include your name and bar number and should briefly outline the extent of your hardship or extenuating circumstances. To view your current MCLE status online, log in to your My Bar Page and then click on the link to “View/Report MCLE Hours.” Please contact the State Bar MCLE Department at (800) 204-2222, ext. 1806, if you have questions about extension requests or MCLE compliance requirements.

Court Orders—Several emergency court orders have been issued related to Hurricane Harvey, including an order authorizing modification and suspension of court procedures in affected proceedings and an order extending the deadline for payment of State Bar dues for Texas attorneys whose principal offices are in counties declared disaster areas. Orders related to Hurricane Harvey can be found at texasbar.com/attorneyresources.

Court Closures—For a list of court closures and delays, go to texasbar.com/attorneyresources.

Monetary Donations—The State Bar is encouraging donations to the Harvey relief effort at texasbar.com/harveyfund.

I hope you find these resources useful. If there is anything else the State Bar can do to help, please let me know.

Executive Director Search Update
In a prior update, I reported that our Executive Director Search Committee had selected seven candidates to interview for the open position of executive director of the State Bar of Texas. The committee—composed of private citizens, people with significant experience in hiring executive leadership, members of the State Bar board, and other members of the bar—met all day on September 11 at the Texas Law Center in Austin for interviews and deliberations.

After much debate and three ballots, the committee voted 15-1 to nominate E.A. “Trey” Apffel III as its recommendation for executive director. The Board of Directors will consider the recommendation during its meeting on September 22 in Lubbock.

Explaining the decision, search committee chair Bob Black said, “All seven finalists were impressive and highly qualified. Everyone brought wonderful gifts to the table, but ultimately the overwhelming consensus choice was Trey Apffel.”

Many of you no doubt know Trey Apffel as a lawyer and a bar leader. He is the owner and principal of the Apffel Law Firm in League City, where he focuses on personal injury litigation, toxic torts, and medical malpractice. His practice also includes family law and divorce. He has practiced in Galveston County for more than 30 years.

Trey has served as State Bar of Texas president (2014-2015), on the State Bar Board of Directors, as a member of the board’s Executive Committee, and as chair of the Legislative Policy Committee. He is a former member of the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He is a member of the Texas Bar College, a Texas Bar Foundation Life Fellow, and served on the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.

The State Bar will update you on the board’s decision after the vote on September 22.

Tom Vick 
President, State Bar of Texas

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 15, 2017

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 08:33

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give through the Texas Bar Foundation by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

Hurricane Harvey: Reports of 82 Texas deaths, but state still investigating — More than 80 people were likely killed in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which struck the state about three weeks ago and brought record flooding to the Houston area, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday. — Reuters

Will Hurricane Irma pull federal resources away from Harvey aid? — With both Texas and Florida recovering from massive hurricanes, members of Congress from the two states are actively avoiding turning hurricane aid into a competition. — The Texas Tribune

Ahead of 2019 session, Speaker Joe Straus orders Texas House to research Harvey issues — “We know that this is not going to be a normal legislative interim,” Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said Thursday as he directed House committees to research policy issues related to Hurricane Harvey. — The Texas Tribune

Investigation underway related to evacuation of flooded Port Arthur nursing home during Harvey — A criminal search warrant was served at the Lake Arthur Place Nursing & Rehabilitation center in Port Arthur Thursday afternoon. — KBMT – Beaumont

EPA won’t release benzene levels collected post-Harvey; private tests show elevated levels — Environmental groups hired a private firm after the flooding and found higher than normal levels of dangerous chemicals in the air around a refinery. — The Texas Tribune

Former Shell president named Houston’s recovery czar — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner created a new position to help the city move forward. He appointed former Shell Oil Company CEO Marvin Odum as chief recovery officer. — KHOU – Houston

Texas General Land Office to lead Harvey housing effort — The Texas General Land Office, the agency tasked with managing state-owned lands, will oversee short- and long-term housing for Texans displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday. — Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Lawsuits allege government liable for damage caaused by water releases during Harvey — Texas plaintiffs firms have begun filing lawsuits on behalf of clients who live in Houston neighborhoods that flooded when the Army Corps of Engineers authorized controlled water releases from two reservoirs in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The suits allege that the intentional flooding was an unlawful government taking of property. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Free legal classes for flood victims at ‘People’s Law School’ — The “People’s Law School” is designed to provide useful information to individuals about their legal rights. This session of the People’s Law School will focus on the legal issues faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to the classes, volunteer attorneys will be available to answer your questions. — Texas Bar Blog

Discounts for home and garden

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 08:00

Does your home need a refresh? With your Beneplace discount website, you’ll find great deals on housewares, appliances, home décor and much more. Browse the “Home & Garden” category on the site to view and compare offers.

With Whirlpool’s Inside Pass Program, enjoy substantial savings on trusted appliances, accessories and other items for your home. You’ll find products from Maytag, KitchenAid, Amana, Whirlpool and more. Or shop World Kitchen for 20% off top brands for your kitchen, including Corelle, Pyrex and CorningWare. Take 15% off select home cleaning robots from iRobot, plus get free shipping on all robot orders.

Save on window treatments, rugs and art with Finecraft. Discover unique food and lifestyle products while supporting remote artisans with GlobeIn. You’ll get your first basket free with a three-month subscription. Saatchi Art is the world’s leading online art gallery—enjoy 8% off original art or prints. Save 20% on eco-friendly outdoor furniture from Loll Designs. Their durable, all-weather, outdoor furniture and accessories are made using recycled plastic.

Find all this and much more through your Beneplace discount website. Check back regularly for new deals and limited-time offers.

Current offers provided by Beneplace.

For more information on other discounts you’re eligible for as a member of the State Bar of Texas, visit texasbar.com/benefits.

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices and more.

State Bar of Texas – Benefits & Services

Free legal classes for flood victims at “People’s Law School”

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 15:47

Editor’s note: The Houston Bar Association issued the following news release Thursday. 

This is your chance to learn more about your legal rights, and have fun at the same time. Best of all, it is absolutely free.

On Saturday, September 30th, the Center for Consumer Law at the University of Houston Law Center, with the sponsorship of the Houston Lawyer Referral Service, will host more than 40 volunteer lawyers, judges, and law professors, teaching courses in several different areas of law.

The “People’s Law School” is designed to provide useful information to individuals about their legal rights. This session of the People’s Law School will focus on the legal issues faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to the classes, volunteer attorneys will be available to answer your questions.

Classes will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on the main campus of the University of Houston Law Center. There will be classes focusing on the legal issues faced in the aftermath of Harvey, insurance, FEMA, consumer/landlord tenant, bankruptcy, credit and debt collection, tax, wills, immigration, government benefits, family law and more.There also are classes in how to work with an attorney and a class on how you can find information on the law on the Internet.

Each person may choose three classes to attend. Every class will be taught by a different instructor, with a different approach, so feel free to take a class more than once if you are really interested in the subject matter.

All instructors are volunteer attorneys from the Houston area, and most of the instructors are happy to answer individual questions after class. Dozens of law students and members of the University of Houston Law Center are available to help with everything from the free coffee and donuts, to the final evaluation form. Everyone who attends also receives comprehensive written materials to supplement the classes.

As the almost 40,000 people who have attended the People’s Law School in the past have discovered, when it comes to the law, knowledge really is power. The “People’s Law School” won’t make you an attorney, but it will help you settle disputes and avoid problems. Whether you are buying a car, preparing a will, dealing with a debt collector or in a dispute with your neighbor, knowing your legal rights can make a difference.

Although there is no charge for the “People’s Law School,” you must pre-register to attend. Registration is limited to the first 1,000 people. To register, simply visit, www.peopleslawyer.net.

 

State Bar, FOIFT honor watchdog journalism with awards

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 15:22

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and the State Bar of Texas on Thursday honored some of 2016’s best examples of watchdog journalism. The awards were presented at the FOI Foundation’s state conference in Austin.

The Dallas Morning News and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times won the Spirit of FOI Award for reports exposing problems with the state’s child welfare system and with one city’s police response to domestic violence.

The Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award, presented by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, highlights journalism that upholds First Amendment principles and promotes or uses open government laws such as the Texas Public Information Act.

The Dallas Morning News won in the large market category for documenting chronic problems with the Texas child welfare system, including the fact that thousands of children weren’t being visited by caseworkers. Their work caused lawmakers to take action.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times won in the Class A market category for stories and commentary on the tragic death of Naomi Villarreal, a victim of domestic violence. Caller-Times reporters Krista M. Torralva and Natalia Contreras were also honored by the State Bar of Texas and its Texas Gavel Awards for that same series of articles.

The Texas Gavel Awards recognize excellence in journalism that fosters public understanding of the legal system; educates the public about the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial branch of government; and discloses practices or procedures needing correction to improve the justice system.

Torralva and Contreras won the Texas Gavel Award in the print, non-metro category for its “Behind Broken Doors” series that explored the city’s deadly domestic violence problem, revealed flaws in the justice system, and sparked action in the community.

In the print, major-metro category, Patrick Michels, formerly of the Texas Observer, won for “Who Guards the Guardians,” an investigative piece that took an in-depth look at the complex system of guardianship cases across the state. Michels found guardianships in Texas ballooned 60 percent from 2011 to 2015, and his reporting concluded that oversight to ensure guardianships aren’t being used as a tool for abuse or theft is lacking across most of the state.

And in the broadcast major-metro category KXAN-TV’s Josh Hinkle, David Barer, Brian Collister, Ben Friberg, Chad Cross and Joe Ellis won with “Border Splurge: Texas’ Billion-Dollar Drug War,” a nine-month series that analyzed 32,000 border arrest records. The team’s reporting concluded that despite a $1.6 billion commitment of taxpayer dollars, few of the people arrested on the border were considered to be high-threat criminals. The team reported that accounts from local law enforcement and drug seizures indicate drugs are still making their way across the border and into Central Texas despite the expenditure and crackdown.

To learn more about the Texas Gavel Awards and read or watch the winning submissions, go here.

Job scam targets law office applicants

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 13:30

A recent job posting on Indeed.com and other job listing sites that offered an office assistant position with Bertha Gutierrez, P.C., is a scam.

Applicants to the post received a response email claiming to be from Gutierrez that said, “Thank you very much for your application. We really appreciate you taking the time to consider us as a potential employer. However, the position you applied for has been filled, but you have been offered another position at our client’s company as a Personal Assistant due to your exceptional resume.”

The email asked for personal details such as address, phone number, and email address. Following emails were sent from a person claiming to be “Dominique Walter” from Walter Group INC, who could be reached at a gmail address.

Follow-up emails with “Walter” included other employment questions and instructions to cash or deposit a check to the applicant’s bank account for $3,420 from an Illinois business. In the email, “Walter” said she would be traveling to Singapore and needed to know when the check was deposited. The email also asked for the candidate to make hotel and flight arrangements for the Singapore trip.
When the candidate notified “Walter” that the check had been deposited, contact was cut off.

Gutierrez said about 20 people had contacted her about the position through phone calls and emails. In email responses to the applicants, Gutierrez stated that no such position had been posted to Indeed.com by her office. At least one applicant was told the position was in Dallas. Gutierrez said she only has one location in San Antonio. Gutierrez also said she did not have any business clients who she would be referring an applicant for hiring.

Gutierrez contacted Indeed.com about removing the job posting. In response, Indeed.com said the posting was no longer listed and had possibly been removed by the poster.

A suicide story

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 09:30

Editor’s note: This is the final of four special posts in the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program’s Stories of Recovery series for National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16). TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) and find more information at tlaphelps.org.

My brother had been out of jail this time for less than five days when I saw two missed calls from my dad on my cell. Something was wrong, my dad never calls me. I called him back, it turned out he was asked by my stepfather to tell me that my brother killed himself. You see, my dad isn’t related to my brother at all. My brother was the son of my mother and stepfather. My dad also told me that they wanted me to tell my sister. I called her and told her over the phone because I was afraid I couldn’t get to her in person before a cousin or friend texted her about the news, and I wanted her to hear it from someone closer.

I immediately tried to find someone or some organization online that could help, could tell me what to do or think, and who could talk to my mother, who had descended into depths of despair so deep I was sure she would never re-emerge. I hoped to find someone who could help me talk her out of killing herself too. I started calling people to tell them what happened. I’m not sure why but I felt like everyone I knew needed to know. I even Facebook messaged ex-boyfriends and relatives of relatives to tell them the news.

How did I feel about it? I felt extremely sad that someone I loved so very much was in such a tremendous amount of pain, and I didn’t know it, and couldn’t fix it.

I learned that I needed to do something to process my grief. I started attending annual “out of the darkness” suicide prevention walks. I asked my family to be on a team with me and now we walk and raise money every year. I joined the local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and became the board chair. I was trained to teach a suicide prevention program and started teaching it as much as possible. I talk about mental health and suicide prevention very frequently on my Facebook page and to friends, co-workers, and colleagues. I post articles about what not to say to someone who has lost someone by suicide, and what warning signs and risk factors to be aware of in others.

I encourage you all to learn more about suicide and how to make yourselves available so that someone thinking about or planning a suicide would feel comfortable telling you—you can get him or her help. I encourage all of you to put the number of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-TALK) into your phones now, and call them if you have questions. Know the mental health authority in your city and know the local hotline. Go to www.afsp.org and learn about how to cope with suicide, and how to help those who are suicidal.

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 14, 2017

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 08:39

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give through the Texas Bar Foundation by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

Majority of Commissioner’s Court backs proposed flood control bond — A majority of the Harris County Commissioners Court on Wednesday said they would support a large bond issue, perhaps upwards of $1 billion, and a tax increase to pay for it. — Houston Chronicle

City Council sets hearings on proposed tax rate hike — Houston City Council set the ball rolling Wednesday on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposed 8.9 percent tax rate hike to help fund Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, in what would be the first hike from City Hall in more than two decades. — Houston Chronicle

State unlikely to move STAAR test dates for Harvey-displaced students — The Texas education commissioner said he was not likely to delay required state test administration dates for students displaced by Hurricane Harvey. — The Texas Tribune

Equipment blamed for release of Galveston wastewater sludge — Experts blame equipment failure for the release of about 135,000 gallons of wastewater sludge into Galveston Bay. — The Associated Press

Houston’s ‘flood czar’ says Harvey has brought the city to a decision point on flood control — Stephen Costello, the city’s chief resilience officer, expects to play a big role in how Houston spends it Hurricane Harvey recovery dollars. — The Texas Tribune

In Beaumont, faith and resilience on Pine Street (Audio) — It was the water, not the wind, that most affected southeast Texans in the path of Hurricane Harvey. Recovering from the flood won’t be easy. It will take weeks of cleaning, rebuilding, and, in one Beaumont neighborhood, faith. — Texas Standard

State Bar of Texas Harvey Media Reports – Sept. 13, 2017

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 09:44

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing a daily collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

Important Harvey Links

If you are an attorney who has been adversely affected or wish to assist a colleague, please take a moment to complete the State Bar of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey assistance survey.

If you would like to donate money to the hurricane relief effort in Texas, you can give through the Texas Bar Foundation by clicking here.

If you are an attorney who wants to help by giving brief advice, limited-scope service, or full representation to Harvey survivors, please complete the form at texasbar.com/attorneyvolunteer.

State Bar Disaster Resources for Attorneys — Information on this page includes recovery plans, court closures, court orders, and other items.

State Bar Disaster Resources the Public — The State Bar of Texas legal hotline — (800) 504-7030 — helps people find answers to basic legal questions and connects them with local legal aid providers following declared disasters.

Latest Harvey News

‘Harvey Can’t Mess With Texas’ benefit at Erwin Center will feature Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett — Tickets to the four-hour concert, which runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will air live on TEGNA stations (including Austin’s KVUE-TV), go on sale at 3 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, via RebuildTX.org for $30 to $199. — Austin American-Statesman

Harris County seeks $17 million to buy out 104 homes at highest risk to flood — Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to seek more than $17 million in Federal Emergency Management Funds to buy out more than 100 homes at the highest risk of flooding in the county. — Houston Chronicle

Texas draws criticism for insisting applications for disaster food stamps be filed in home counties — Advocates for poor and moderate-income Texans are urging state officials to reconsider requiring that Hurricane Harvey victims return to their home counties to apply for federal disaster food relief. — The Dallas Morning News

As fetid post-Harvey trash piles linger, so do health risks — The pile of trash outside Mark Urbach’s home in Meyerland stands more than five feet high and covers nearly every inch of grass on his front lawn. — Houston Press

City presses landlord on repairs as flooded apartment tenants seek relief — Hundreds of Rockport tenants are scrambling to figure out their next steps as city officials converge on a property where management was, as of last Friday, charging rent for flooded apartments it had not even begun to repair. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Local evacuees return to eviction notices — Phoebe Cormier was taken by Beaumont firefighters from her flooded apartment to the Beaumont Civic Center, and then by bus to Louisiana when the city’s shelter shuttered. A week after Harvey hit Southeast Texas, calls came in from her neighbors: eviction notices on doors, five days to leave, anything left behind will be removed. — Beaumont Enterprise

Harvey’s flooding blamed in major gasoline spill in Texas — Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters triggered a spill of almost a half-million gallons of gasoline from two storage tanks along the Houston Ship Channel, marking the largest spill reported to date from a storm that slammed into the heart of Texas’ huge petrochemical industry. — The Associated Press

Customs and Border Protection resumes operations despite ongoing Harvey disaster declaration — Despite an ongoing federal disaster declaration, Customs and Border Protection has resumed routine immigration enforcement operations in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, agency spokeswoman Yolanda Choates said in a statement Tuesday. — The Dallas Morning News

As A&M chancellor and hurricane recovery czar, John Sharp balances two intensely personal jobs — Former Democratic rising star John Sharp was already chancellor of the school he loves. Now, he’s been tasked with restoring the region where he got his start. — The Texas Tribune

Rising costs for homebuilders likely to push prices up — An untimely confluence of labor shortages, rising material costs and the possibility of tougher development guidelines in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is expected to result in escalating prices for new homes across Houston, a part of the country frequently lauded for its affordably priced housing. (Subscription required) — Houston Chronicle

Experts: New way of thinking needed to reduce flooding risk — If Houston and Harris County are to ever get the upper hand on our flooding problems, it will take a big, bold new way of thinking according to several experts who’ve studied the issue for decades. — KHOU – Houston

Post-Harvey, Houston officials hope Congress is up for funding Ike Dike — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday gave his strongest endorsement to date for constructing a physical coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge. — The Texas Tribune

AG sues 3 businesses for alleged price gouging during Harvey — The Attorney General’s office on Tuesday filed lawsuits against three Texas businesses, accusing each of unlawful price gouging during Hurricane Harvey. — KVUE – Austin

Houston-area legal advice clinics to help those impacted by Harvey — The Houston Bar Association’s Houston Volunteer Lawyers has several legal advice clinics scheduled to assist those in affected areas of the county who have legal questions and legal issues following Hurricane Harvey. — Texas Bar Blog

Texans who lost gun licenses due to Harvey can get new ones for free — Texans who have lost or damaged their license to carry a handgun as a result of Hurricane Harvey can receive a free replacement, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday. — The Texas Tribune

Officials: Austin’s mega-shelter for Harvey evacuees to close soon — As Harvey evacuees begin making their treks home or finding new places to live, Austin’s mega-shelter is winding down its operations and will close by the end of the weekend, officials estimate. — Austin American-Statesman

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